We have been lucky enough to have formed a firm friendship with the wonderful folks at ROLI. They’ve been absolutely fab, with introducing us to their musical instruments – whether that’s instruments to produce music or instruments to make the sounds! We received four amazing hardware from ROLI: the Beatmaker kit – Lightpad Block M and Loop Block, A Live Block and the Songmaker kit – a Lightpad Block M, Loop Block and the much coveted Seaboard Block. Check out Bloco member, Luke’s review of these instruments of mass-music-making!

ROLI Seaboard 

The ROLI Seaboard is a keyboard in the form of a flat silicone surface with soft, squidgy bumps and ridges in the places in which the keys would usually be placed. 

 The Seaboard comes with a USB to USB C cable but doesn’t include a plug. I do think that the reason for that is the fact the wire would normally go from the Seaboard to a computer. I am yet to use the Seaboard with a computer. Inside the box is of course your ROLI Seaboard, Lightpad Block M and Live Block, which when all put together form a Songmaker Kit. With just the Lightpad Block M and the Live Block you get the Beatmaker Kit. Individually the Lightpad Block M is a touchpad that is sensitive to different levels of pressure and manipulates synthesized sounds when the musician hits or strokes the pad in different ways. The Live Block is essentially a 94mm x 47 mm studio, complete with all you need to make a great song with your Songmaker Kit or Beatmaker Kit. If you were looking for perfection I would go for the Seaboard, reason being the Seaboard is slightly more responsive, for some people that just want that extra assurance of perfection, as the Lightpad Block M for me was slightly unresponsive in that when trying to play drums in time 

 Connecting the Seaboard to an iPad is very simple: when you open the app, you are given the option to connect to a ROLI product. Whether that is the Songmaker Kit, the Beatmaker Kit or any other ROLI product, all you must do is select your Seaboard from all the options on your screen. 

Using GarageBand is just as simple, once connected you go to the external section and select your Seaboard and you are connected.  

 I have been using its Bluetooth feature to connect to an iPad and use ROLI NOISE, ROLI Play, Seaboard 5D and GarageBand. 

 I think we could incorporate the ROLI Seaboard in to Bloco as an accompaniment to our current ensemble, whether as a looper or for someone to use alongside their current instrument. 

 The Seaboard would be great for fusions of essentially any genre, possibly adding a crash cymbal for some songs we may perform, or a soundscape for a transition between songs. We could fuse hip-hop, Grime, Neo Soul or Modern Jazz.”

– Luke, Drum Squad